Checking In On… the Mountain West

Posted by Andrew Murawa on February 25th, 2014

This week in the Mountain West conference had it all: a much-awaited Top 25 match-up between the two teams remaining in the race for the conference title; an epic (game of the year?) overtime battle between what appears to be the third- and fourth-best teams in the conference that went down to, literally, the final split second before some postgame controversy; and straight heartbreak, when an all-conference performer had his season abruptly ended by injury. Let’s get right to it.

Team of the Week

New Mexico – A little patience, plenty of hard work and steady improvement, and the Lobos are back where their fans expected them to be all along – in first place in the conference. After going on the road and handling the Runnin’ Rebels with relative ease, Craig Neal and company returned home and, in front of a raucous home crowd, showed San Diego State that there is at least another team in the conference capable of some lockdown defense on occasion. Inside the Top 25 and tied atop the conference standings, the Lobos seem to be peaking at just the right time.

Cameron Bairstow And The Lobos Earned A Big Home Win Over San Diego State on Saturday Night (Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Cameron Bairstow And The Lobos Earned A Big Home Win Over San Diego State on Saturday Night. (Streeter Lecka, Getty Images)

Player of the Week

Cameron Bairstow, Senior, New Mexico – Prior to today, we had awarded the Mountain West Player of the Week 11 different times this season. Four players had earned our award twice – Xavier Thames, Larry Nance and Khem Birch. That tie has now been broken, and at precisely the time when the senior Aussie big man first inched ahead of Thames in the Player of the Year race. There is plenty of work left to be done, but with Bairstow’s averages this week of 22.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 3.0 BPG in two huge conference games, his inclusion here can hardly be argued with. Read the rest of this entry »

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Checking In On… the Mountain West

Posted by Andrew Murawa (@AMurawa) on January 14th, 2014

Go home Mountain West, you’re drunk! How else to explain looking at the standings two weeks in and seeing Nevada – they of the eight non-conference losses, including to such luminaries as Pacific, Cal State Bakersfield, Morehead State, and New Orleans – alone atop the conference standings? How about Boise State and UNLV, two teams expected to contend for NCAA Tournament bids prior to the season, sitting back at 1-2? How about the worst team in the conference, San Jose State, giving New Mexico everything the Lobos can handle? How about the conference, home of terrific home court advantages up and down the West, sporting just a combined 10-9 record in league play so far? How about a San Diego State team in a rebuilding year with a work-in-progress offense carrying the banner for the conference with a top 15 ranking in the most recent RTC Top 25? Face it. Not a lot in this conference makes a ton of sense this year. And it is fascinating.

Deonte Burton Has Led A Wolf Pack Resurgence In Conference Play (US Presswire)

Deonte Burton Has Led A Wolf Pack Resurgence In Conference Play. (US Presswire)

Team of the Week

Nevada – This team was – not to put too fine a point on it – awful in the non-conference. They didn’t share they ball, they couldn’t rebound, they couldn’t defend. Less patient athletic directors may have begun their next coaching searches before Christmas. Now, while we’ve still no reason to suspect that the Wolf Pack are actually going to challenge for the conference title, much less an NCAA Tournament bid, these guys have turned into a real team. You actually want to find a way to watch them just to see what’s going on. They’ve got an NBA talent in Deonte Burton; they’ve got newcomer A.J. West providing some toughness up front; and they’ve got a handful of talented ancillary parts. And with sophomore Marqueze Coleman now back from injury, they’re starting to get back to whole. And – get this – they’re actually allowing less than a point per possession in four conference games. Maybe you can believe in this team, at least for a little while.

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Who Won The Week? Florida, Chaz Williams, and Jalen James…

Posted by Kenny Ocker on December 13th, 2013

Who Won the Week? is a regular column that will outline and discuss three winners and losers from the previous week. The author of this column is Kenny Ocker (@KennyOcker), a Spokane-based sportswriter best known for his willingness to drive (or bike!) anywhere to watch a basketball game. But he’s not biking anywhere with a sub-zero wind chill.

WINNER: Florida

Billy Donovan and Florida had a week to remember. (AP)

Billy Donovan and Florida had a week to remember. (Getty)

The Gators bounced back in a huge way from its last-second loss to Connecticut a week and a half ago, knocking off Kansas Tuesday, winning 67-61 in Gainesville. The win was especially impressive given how Florida (7-2) took the lead early in the first half and never relinquished it, but also for the play of point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who was expected to be out for weeks with a sprained ankle suffered against the Huskies. Instead, Wilbekin started and led his team in points (18), assists (six), steals (four) and minutes (36). Between the presence of Wilbekin and fellow point guard Kasey Hill, who was also expected to miss this game with an ankle injury, Jayhawks’ point guards Naadir Tharpe and Frank Mason combined for more turnovers (nine) than the Gators had as a team (eight). With Wilbekin and Hill healthy and coach Billy Donovan’s tight seven-man rotation intact and led by breakout senior forward Casey Prather, the Gators have the look of a team that could go very deep in the NCAA Tournament, and beating one of the nation’s marquee basketball programs certainly speaks to that potential.

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Around The Blogosphere: May 16, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 16th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • Mark Turgeon Lands First Commitment at Maryland, 2012 Sleeper Guard Seth Allen: “Say what you want to say about Mark Turgeon, but he works fast. Just days after being hired, he’s already landed his first commitment of the 2012 class: Fredericksburg Christian (VA) 6-2 guard Seth Allen. Allen joins fellow Virginian Justin Anderson as the Maryland commitments in the 2012 class; the Terrapins will likely have at least five open scholarships in the class, thanks to the recent defections of Jordan Williams, Sterling Gibbs, Martin Breunig, and possibly Nick Faust.” (Testudo Times)
  • Maryland Meeting with Dalonte Hill: Who He Is and Why He Matters: Some background information on the Kansas State assistant and why Maryland is pushing to add him to their new staff. (Testudo Times)
  • Incoming ‘Cats Shun Team USA For Leg Up On Next Season: Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, and Anthony Davis were among a group of 27 players that turned down an offer to play for the under-19 US National team in order to get ready to play college basketball. (A Sea of Blue)
  • Florida Releases Assistant Basketball Coaches’ Salaries: The three assistants will be making between $100,000 and $235,000 in salary along with various extra incentives. (Alligator Army)

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Around The Blogosphere: May 11, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 11th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • Erik Murphy, Cody Larson Have Charges Reduced From Felonies To Misdemeanors: ”That’s likely very good news for both young men’s futures, especially Murphy’s. Though there’s still some expense and punishment involved in dealing with misdemeanor charges — and, though this isn’t a court of law, I think most of us suspect there is a good chance Murphy and Larson are guilty — it is a far better scenario than a felony charge.” (Alligator Army)
  • Ralph Sampson III Stays: “After much debate and drama it is official that Ralph Sampson III will return for his senior season as a Minnesota Golden Gopher.” (The Daily Gopher)
  • Guerrero Officially Surrenders to Bruin Nation, Restores UCLA Students’ Sideline Seats at Pauley: After a lot of fighting the students were able to get their spot on the sidelines back. (Bruins Nation)

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Around The Blogosphere: May 4, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on May 4th, 2011

If you are interested in participating, send your submissions to rushthecourt@gmail.com as we will be updating these posts throughout the day.

News

  • Rodney Purvis decommits: Louisville is still in the hunt, but now they have plenty of competition. (Card Chronicle)
  • Washington Times: Kevin Anderson Trying to Rekindle Georgetown-Maryland Rivalry: “Two of the best, most historic basketball powerhouses exist within ten miles of each other, each with extremely different makeup in their student bodies and fanbases. They fight for recruits. They fight for fans. They fight for DC media. It’s nearly a perfect rivalry, but it’s been held up by what amounts to the basketball version of political red tape. At least, until now. Maybe. That’s what Maryland AD Kevin Anderson is telling people.” (Testudo Times)
  • Demetri Goodson officially leaves Gonzaga: “Goodson’s transfer also means that not one member of Gonzaga’s 2008 recruiting class will finish their collegiate career as a Zag.” (The Slipper Still Fits)
  • Indiana looking at 2013 point guard Jalen James: “Word of God (NC) Josh Newkirk surfaced on the radar a couple of weeks ago and this week, Illinois Wolves director Mike Mullins tweeted that Indiana is beginning to show interest in Chicago Hope Academy’s Jalen James.” (Inside the Hall)
  • Recruiting Roundup: May 2nd, 2011: A breakdown of Michigan’s recruiting so far. (UM Hoops)
  • Patric Young On His Development Goals: “Relentless … Double-Double Machine”: The rising UF sophomore has gone to Twitter to talk about his goals for next season. (Alligator Army)
  • Recruiting roundup: Makanjuola, McGary, 2012 rankings: A breakdown of Indiana’s recruiting so far. (Inside the Hall)
  • Gopher Basketball 2012 Recruiting: A breakdown of Minnesota’s recruiting so far. (The Daily Gopher)

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